Eurovision 2014

UK : So where will the BBC show the Eurovision 2015 Semi-Finals as BBC 3 is restructured to an on-line channel? We find out.

BBC THREE - Eurovision Semi Finals. Photo : BBC

BBC THREE – Eurovision Semi Finals. Photo : BBC

United Kingdom – Where will the BBC show the Semi Finals for Eurovision 2015 now that BBC THREE is being taken off the air?

The BBC announced today that BBC Three will now be an on-line broadcasting network with an emphasis on long form content.

The new on-line station will be based on comedy and ‘thought-provoking programming”.

The removal of the channel from digital terrestrial will make room for a BBC One+1 service, while CBBC will be extended by two hours in the evening.

Speaking today the Director general Tony Hall called it an “exciting and ambitious proposal…..and will generate savings of £50m for the corporation – were difficult decisions in the face of a frozen licence fee”.

The plans will have to be approved by the BBC Trust, who will consult with the public from the beginning of next year.

The future of BBC Three

  • The channel will move from nine hours a day to a 24-hour service
  • Programmes like Snog, Marry, Avoid and Don’t Tell The Bride are likely to be jettisoned in favour of harder-hitting content
  • 80% of budget will be spent on long-form programmes like Murdered by My Boyfriend and Bad Education
  • 20% of budget will go on non-traditional content – such as micro-videos, listicles and gifs
  • A daily news service will be created in conjunction with Radio 1’s Newsbeat
  • Programmes will not just live on iPlayer, but will be distributed on third party sites including YouTube and Facebook
  • Traditional genres like drama and comedy will be replaced by the strands “Make Me Think” and “Make Me Laugh”
  • Moving BBC Three to online will allow CBBC to broadcast for an extra two hours in the evening
  • It will also allow for a BBC One+1 channel to be launched

The corporation’s boss Lord Hall added that this was an example of the BBC embracing a new age in broadcasting.

“By searching out new ways to engage and entertain young audiences on their terms, the new BBC Three will be a great example of how we can reinvent the public service for the digital world – using their talent, appearing on the platforms and devices that they use and talking to them as equals and partners,”

The BBC’s director of television Danny Cohen admitted that the changes would lead to an “initial drop overall” in viewing figures, adding “that’s why we want BBC One and BBC Two to pick up the weight”.

So where does that leave the Eurovision Semi Finals?

The BBC has had extensive coverage of the Eurovision Semi-Finals on BBC THREE and that is where the British public have been able to vote in their allotted Semi-Final. Scott Mills, Anna Matronic, Caroline Flack (Currently on Strictly Come Dancing) and Sara Cox have all been involved in the BBC Three Eurovision Semi Final shows over the years.

2014 saw the BBC create a pop-up Eurovision channel – like they did for the Olympics – and this worked extremely well. Initial speculation is that the Eurovision Semi Finals will move to BBC Four – which would not be the ideal demographic match for the show but it would ensure that the semi finals are broadcast and the public allowed to vote.

However there are other potential options

Could the BBC be the leader of innovation and place the Eurovision Semi Finals on-line on the new proposed BBC THREE on-line network? Well they would of course have to make a request to the Eurovision reference group for that to happen. However both the EBU and the BBC are always looking for ways to innovate.

Could the UK/BBC be a test pilot for the EBU? If you look at the typical viewer of BBC THREE they would be of a younger demographic and would naturally be well used to looking at TV on-line. So this would not be such a huge jump. It does however potentially narrow viewers in areas with low internet/broadband width. We all know what it can be like when you are at the parents house trying to look at Melodifestivalen – me and “Buffering” have a close relationship at times!

Could the BBC just move the Eurovision Semi Finals to BBC FOUR? Well that would be easily done. Just a rescheduling of programmes on two nights and ‘Bob’s Your Uncle’. BBC FOUR maybe a slightly different demographic than your typical Eurovision viewer and maybe not an exact fit with the new direction of the BBC for their artists for the contest, but these are just the semi-finals for a country that is already in the Grand Final.

Or would the BBC be bold and place the Eurovision Semi-Finals on BBC TWO? Well that would be a huge investment for the BBC. Would they get their return on such a broadcasting output? Possibly not. If you look at their fellow Big 5 compatriots this would not be their choice too fully. However other countries do like Ireland and Sweden to name a few.

We spoke to the BBC today and they have confirmed

“(BBC THREE) is not going on-line until after May next year so for Eurovision 2015 they will still be on BBC Three.  Thereafter it’s too early to say.”

Either way there are several options open to the BBC and the EBU if they want to test pilot the Eurovision Semi Finals on-line.

We have reached out to our colleagues in the BBC to ask for a comment on their plans and will Eurovision 2015 even be an issue?

Tell us – Where do you think the BBC should broadcast the Live Eurovision Semi Finals? On BBC FOUR? On BBC TWO? Or on-line?

Let us know.

Author/Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall

Source : BBC and Eurovision Ireland

2 replies »

  1. BBC4 is a great home for the semi finals

    They already have a very wide range of music on there away from the mainstream pop folk country 70s TOTPs revisted… its an ideal channel for it IMHO

  2. The easy option is BBC Four, which will mean that the SFs will probably become the best ratings the channel has ever had! For the real fans, who probably make up most of the UK viewing audience of the SFs, they will switch to whichever channel it is on, so I think there will not be a loss of viewing figures but no gain either.

    The radical step would be to have it on the on-line channel but they risk losing viewers due to streaming issues – this might be an option towards the end of the decade but not now. I occasionally have streaming issues with iplayer and the NFs I have watched and I have one of the fastest broadband packages out there!

    The risk that might be worth the Beeb taking if they are REALLY serious about Eurovision again would be to put the SFs on BBC Two. A bigger audience would be gained, more people would tune in on a Tuesday and Thursday night that aren’t watching the soaps (or who are happy to play catch-up on a recorded programme rather than the live SFs) and to be honest, not much in the way of programming would be lost. For instance:

    Tuesday 9th between 7-10pm – programmes about cars, Masterchef and castles
    Thursday 11th at the same time – first two the same, then a drama.

    Not exactly anything that couldn’t be rescheduled…

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